Last Updated on May 22, 2023 by Dr Gustavo Assatourians DDS
Tooth pain during pregnancy
During pregnancy, a completely physiological and normal process lasting approximately 9 months, many changes occur in the woman’s body such as the appearance of spots on the face called Gravid Melasma, as well as a “Bruna spot” below the navel.
The oral cavity undergoes many changes during these 9 months as well. It is extremely important to keep the mouth as healthy as possible for the health of the new baby. Through blood circulation, there is a close relationship between mother and baby, so anything that benefits or affects the mother will also benefit the baby.
Most cases of tooth pain during pregnancy are normal and usually disappear after delivery. However, these changes can cause pain and concern in mothers-to-be, so let’s take a look at the most common causes of tooth pain during pregnancy and when it is time to see your dentist::
Causes of Toothache when Pregnant
Pregnancy hormones can affect the way the body reacts to bacteria, making a pregnant woman more susceptible to infections, especially vaginal and oral infections. Oral infections can cause a lot of pain, swollen and bleeding gums, as well as damage to the tissues that support the teeth, thus causing tooth mobility and even the loss of some teeth.
This is one of the most frequent problems during pregnancy; it occurs in up to 75% of pregnant women at the end of the first trimester and disappears after delivery. It manifests as inflammation, redness, and bleeding of the gums observed during tooth brushing or eating an apple, for example. Gingivitis in pregnancy is not necessarily associated with the presence of dental plaque or food debris; however, it is necessary to maintain good hygiene and avoid plaque accumulation.
If hygiene is not adequate, a localized tumor known as a granuloma or pregnancy tumor may form, which although benign, causes great pain and discomfort. It usually disappears after delivery.
During early pregnancy, expectant mothers experience nausea and vomiting to a greater or lesser degree. The vomit will be composed of acids produced in the stomach that when in contact with the surfaces of the teeth, will cause a lesion called dental erosion, which consists of the demineralization of the dental enamel. This dental erosion can produce dental sensitivity to hot or cold drinks or food.
Caries during pregnancy
Caries lesions are painful, depending upon their progression. They may be favored by various factors that occur during pregnancy; however, this does not mean that pregnancy is a direct cause of caries. For example, due to dental erosion caused by vomiting, a weak tooth will be more susceptible to developing caries lesions if you lack proper hygiene because the enamel tissue will no longer protect the tooth.
On the other hand, there may be a change in the composition of the saliva due to hormonal changes which, together with the typical increase in the number of meals (usual cravings between meals), will facilitate the presence of new cavities and, therefore pain and discomfort.
How to avoid tooth pain during pregnancy?
Visiting the dentist
In an ideal world, the first visits to your dentist should be during the planning stage, that is, before conception to eliminate any issue such as an infection that may be exacerbated and cause discomfort during pregnancy. It is vital to ensure the health of the new baby. If not done before conception, schedule your first visit as soon as you know you are pregnant. Your dentist will schedule follow-up appointments and perform treatments or extractions as needed to ease your tooth pain during pregnancy. By the second trimester of the pregnancy, only emergency cases should be treated throughout the pregnancy and then with great care.
A balanced and healthy diet aids in the development of the baby while maintaining the general health of the mother-to-be, along with her oral health. Try exchanging the usual cravings for sweets or carbohydrates with healthier options.
Rinsing after vomiting
The American Pregnancy Association recommends rinsing your mouth with a fluoride mouthwash after each episode of vomiting. It means avoiding brushing your teeth immediately afterward, as your teeth will be more susceptible to wear and erosion from the acidic action of the vomit.
The American Dental Association recommends the use of toothbrushes with small brush heads and soft or extra soft bristles to avoid damaging the gums. It is vital to avoid excessive erosion of the teeth. Your dentist will teach you the best brushing technique. Brushing should be gentle and massaging; you should avoid strong, hard, and abrupt movements with a lot of pressure. In addition, the toothpaste should contain at least 1100ppm of fluoride. It is more effective not to wet the toothbrush before brushing nor rinse with water during or at the end of brushing; instead, just spit it out.
Our specialists seek to restore the smile to its natural appearance and help maintain oral health throughout your pregnancy to ensure the health of the mother-to-be and baby-to-be.
If you have any questions about this or other topics you can contact us at Channel Island Family Dental. We will be attentive to your visit to make a timely diagnosis. Besides, our dentists in Oxnard, Santa Paula, Ventura, and Port Hueneme will be able to guide you to the best treatment to give you back your best smile.
- Evoy L. Why Does My Tooth Hurt During Pregnancy? Verywellhealth (internet). Published January 03, 2022, (accessed Aug 25, 2022). Available at: https://www.verywellhealth.com/pregnancy-toothache-causes-treatment-and-home-remedies-5211381
- Dexter A. Sensitive Teeth in Pregnancy: What to do About Sore Gums and Toothache. Dentaly.org (internet). Published May 03, 2022, (accessed Aug 25, 2022). Available at: https://www.dentaly.org/us/sensitive-teeth/sensitive-teeth-pregnancy/
- Higuera V. Why Teeth Pain During Pregnancy Is a Thing – and What You Can Do About It. Healthline (internet). Published Aug 27, 2019, (accessed Aug 25, 2022). Available at: https://www.healthline.com/health/pregnancy/pregnancy-teeth-pain
- Mouth Healthy. Is It Safe To Go To the Dentist During Pregnancy? American Dental Association, ADA (internet). Published 2020, (accessed Aug 25, 2022). Available at: https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/pregnancy/concerns/
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